Catfish by bow, more youth turkey opportunity
Springfield — Allowing the take of catfish by bow and arrow, expanding the youth turkey hunt to two weekends and opening public sites to quail hunting – it took Gov. Bruce Rauner a matter of seconds to turn proposals into law at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.
Taking advantage of Conservation Day at the State Fair, Rauner recalled his own “huntin’ and fishin’” roots and noted that the four bills he signed “makes common sense adjustments to the law to allow DNR to more efficiently do their job of protecting Illinois’ lands and wildlife.
“Investing in young hunters and fishers helps implant a great love for the outdoors that will continue through a lifetime,” Rauner said in front of a crowd gathered mostly to watch the recognition of Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame inductees and groups of volunteers being honored by DNR.
“As an avid hunter and fisherman, I believe in utilizing Illinois’ vast natural resources to enhance our quality of life while also protecting them for future generations to enjoy.”
The four pieces of legislation are:
• HB 5788. The new law adds catfish to the list of aquatic life that may be taken by bowfishing. Catfish taken by anglers using bowfishing equipment will be allowed to be kept and utilized by the anglers. Basically, the law gives DNR permission to set daily limits and other regulations through administrative rule, instead of it having to go through a statute process. More importantly, the law gives DNR more authority to consider and conserve catfish populations when setting bowfishing rules.
HB 4604. The law allows DNR to permit hunters to take quail, chukar partridge and gray partridge on public hunting grounds. DNR can set hunting season for game birds by administrative rule between the dates of Sept. 1 and March 31.
Senate Bill 3003. This multi-faceted law requires DNR to hold a youth turkey season for two consecutive weekends, instead of the current one weekend.
The law also allows DNR to offer free landowner permits for both deer and turkey as long as the landowner has 40 acres or more.
The proposal would combine the application for both deer and turkey. It also reduces the amount of DNR staff time spends verifying that free landowner permits are going to eligible landowners.
• Senate Bill 2410. The new law extends the youth license program from just hunting and fishing to trapping. Young hunters age 18 and under may apply for a Youth Trapping License.
The young trapper must still abide by all wildlife laws and codes, and must be accompanied by and under the close supervision of a parent, grandparent, or guardian who is 21 years of age or older and has a valid Illinois trapping license.
“Learning under an experienced trapper will serve as ‘on-the-job training’ for these kids,” said Rep. Avery Bourne, R-Raymond, sponsor of SB 2410. “Evidence shows that if a youth starts hunting or trapping early in their life, there is a higher likelihood they will continue to participate as an adult. This legislation is subsequently promoting the sport for years to come.”
The law, which requires a youngster to pay a $7 fee to obtain the license, goes into effect Jan. 1, 2017.